A monogeneric family with two species endemic to Madagascar (Dickison 2003). Traditionally, the only genus Physena was placed in Capparales/Capparaceae (e.g. Pax & Hoffmann 1936) or Flacourtiaceae (e.g. Perrier de la Bâthie 1946). Later, it was considered as a family of its own and placed in the order Sapindales (e.g. Takhtajan 1980, 1987) and was then even transferred to the separate order Physenales (e.g. Takhtajan 1997). However, already the early molecular phylogenetic studies of Morton & al. (1997) showed the affinities of Physenaceae with Caryophyllales and its close relationship to Asteropeiaceae. These results were confirmed by subsequent molecular phylogenetic studies (e.g. Cuénoud & al. 2002; Brockington 2009, 2011; Soltis & al. 2011). The relationship between Asteropeiaceae and Physenaceae is also supported by wood anatomical characters: further information under Asteropeiaceae.
Physenaceae in Bot. Zhurn. (Moscow & Leningrad) 70: 1692. 1985 sec. APG III (2009)
- Type: Physena